By Jon Waterman
Summary – At the height of World War II, American troopers parachute into France in order to destroy a radio tower the Germans have been using and heavily guarding. There’s limited time to accomplish the mission and limited resources as all of the planes are shot down and most of the troops are killed on the voyage. With only a handful of soldiers left, the odds are stacked against the Americans, but with the help of a French villager named Chloe they may still have a chance. Oh and there are some genetically modified German monsters to worry about too.
Over-reaching – This film is a really good mix of the war and horror genres. The situational combination plays out about as naturally as the subject matter can allow. It was really fun to see the easy transitions between guns-a-blazing war movie to creepy laboratory scenes to stealthy war to gross out monster gore and so on. It reminded me of another under the radar genre-bender called “Dog Soldiers” in that respect. On the other hand, it also gave me a “Resident Evil” vibe, and this story could certainly work as a video game.
Undercooked – So, while the plot is fine and fun, the dialogue is lacking and basic. There aren’t any cheesy lines, which I appreciate, but also no one says anything interesting or memorable or insightful. I’ll also say that in the beginning, it was really hard to hear the dialogue in the plane. I’m not sure if it was just my theater, but after that scene there were no issues. However, despite missing most of what was said, I didn’t miss any character development. They all wind up as one- or two-dimensional vehicles used for basic plot progression only. We’ve seen these stereotypes hundreds of times before and the movie’s horror bend probably makes it easier to accept those shortcomings.
Over Kills – After all, the monsters are cool…mostly (See “Biggest Disappointment”). The makeup is great. There are plenty of gory deaths and a couple of inventive ones. It’s easy to have fun watching this movie. It does fall victim to the stereotypical horror tropes with cheap jump scares and some monster running across the screen with a musical sting, but those instances are minimal.
Biggest Standout – I don’t want to give anything away, but there was a fantastic tracking shot at the end of the movie with plenty of action. I honestly couldn’t tell if it was mostly CG or just meticulously planned and timed, but either way, it was an awesome finishing sequence.
Biggest Disappointment – One of the most prominently featured monsters was also the most over the top and the most like a cartoon one we see. Imagine a terrible actor at a haunted house and then amplify it a bit.
Is It Worth Watching Again? – I would indeed. I do think it’s important to know that there are horror elements going into the movie, because otherwise you might get thrown off. It takes a while for that part to start up, but the intensity builds. I hope “Overlord” doesn’t end up under appreciated.
Running Time: 110 min
Director: Julius Avery
Writer: Billy Ray, Mark L. Smith
Starring: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier